JERSEY CITY—Sophomore forward JULIA CASERES (Union, NJ/Union) scored four times, including her 30th goal of the year, and broke New Jersey City University’s single-season scoring record with 73 points as NJCU, playing in the first post-season game in the history of the program crushed Mount Saint Mary College (NY), 7-2, in an Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) Division III Metro Quarterfinal contest on Wednesday at the Robert L. McNulty Memorial Soccer Field.
NJCU, which outshot MSMC 31-4, including 19-2 in the first half, increases its single-season records for victories (13) and goals (82) as the Gothic Knights improve to 13-8 overall. MSMC’s season ends at 9-9-2 overall. The Blue Knights lead the all-time series, 7-5-1, but NJCU has won four of the last five meetings, including a season-opening 4-1 decision on September 1.
NJCU, the third seed in the tournament, advances to the ECAC Metro Semifinals on Saturday, November 14 at 4 p.m. and will face #2 seeded William Paterson University (11-7-3). The Pioneers were 4-0 winners over #7 SUNY Old Westbury in another ECAC Quarterfinal. The game will played at a neutral site at Lubetkin Field on the campus of New Jersey Institute of Technology in Newark, NJ.
NJCU and WPU, the lone New Jersey Athletic Conference representatives in this year’s ECAC Tournament field, played on October 14 in Jersey City, and the Knights prevailed, 3-1.
Caseres broke the single-season NJCU scoring record with 73 points on 30 goals and 13 assists, eclipsing the standard of 69 points (32 goals, 5 assists) set last year by Jennifer Albuja. Additionally, Caseres tied the single-season NJAC record for points by a women’s soccer player at any conference school, matching the 73-point performance by Kean University’s Noelle Meeke in 1995.
With 125 points (52 goals, 21 assists) in 41 career games, Caseres moved into ninth place in scoring in NJAC history.
Freshman forward ASHLEY CUNHA (Edison, NJ/Edison) had a goal and two assists in the game, giving her 51 points on the year—20 goals and 11 assists—tying the single-season rookie points mark achieved by Jennifer Albuja in 2007 (24 goals, 3 assists).
Sophomore midfielder KATLIN VARGO (Edison, NJ/Union Catholic) had a goal (13) and an assist (11), giving her 37 points, while freshman midfielder DELIA CHERNEZ (Union City, NJ/Union City) netted her third goal of the season.
Senior stopper JESSICA IRIZARRY (Perth Amboy, NJ/Perth Amboy) and rookie twin defenders AMANDA SPETHMANN and CHELSEA SPETHMANN (Wood-Ridge, NJ/Wood-Ridge—Hasbrouck Heights) each contributed single assists.
Senior midfielder Kristen Maggio (Smithtown, NY/Smithtown West) and senior forward Danielle Bucco (Washingtonville, NY/Washingtonville) each collected an unassisted goal for the Blue Knights.
Caseres, who scored the first, second, fourth and sixth goals for NJCU, notched her sixth hattrick and second four-goal game of the year, while also bagging her sixth game-winning goal.
Freshman keeper CATHERINE HENSLEY (Dripping Springs, TX/Dripping Springs) made one save while starting only her third career game. MSMC freshman keeper Casey Roland (Bethpage, NY/Bethpage) made six saves.
NJCU, playing for the first time in 13 days and at home for the first time in three weeks, showed no rust, attacking early and often.
Caseres put NJCU ahead just 6:14 into the game with her 27th goal of the year. After receiving a pass from Chelsea Spethmann, Caseres beat a defender on the left wing, sprinted along the endline, and chipped a shot past the approaching keeper.
Less than four minutes later, Caseres scored again. Chelsea Spethmann delivered a long pass up the left sideline from midfield that led to a breakaway opportunity on the left wing, which Caseres cashed in on at 10:03, outrunning two defenders before planting a shot into the right side of the net. The assist was the fourth for Spethmann.
MSMC drew within one, 2-1, at 32:55. After an NJCU defender misplayed control of a loose ball in the box, Maggio slid with her foot extended, poking the ball slowly along the ground, past the charging keeper and into the net before it could be cleared. It was her third goal of the year.
But NJCU would score the next three goals to take a commanding 5-1 lead. Less than three minutes later, Vargo lofted a free kick from the deep left wing onto the right endline where Cunha headed a ball into the goalmouth. Each player received an assist as Chernez directed a pinpoint header inside the left post for a 3-1 margin at 35:42.
Four minutes later, Caseres made it 4-1 with her 29th goal of the year. Irizarry, who contributed her fifth assist, played a ball up the right sideline onto the wing, leading to a breakaway in the box. Caseres dribbled into the middle of the box before she buried a shot into the left of the target at 39:45. The 4-1 margin was the score at the intermission.
At 51:11, Caseres was taken down in the box on a foul. NJCU was awarded a penalty kick and Vargo converted for a 5-1 cushion. Bucco was awarded a penalty kick for MSMC at 76:04, scoring her 14th goal.
NJCU would tack on two more impressive goals. At 82:33, Cunha dribbled past two players on the near sideline and sent a line-drive cross onto the chest of Caseres, who settled the ball and rifled home her 30th goal of the season from 12 yards out. She became only the second player in NJCU history and third in NJAC history to notch 30 goals in one year.
Cunha became the third different player in NJCU history to score 20 goals in a season—now accomplished four times overall between Albuja (2007, 2008), Caseres and Cunha—when she capped the offense at 86:47. Amanda Spethmann lofted a cross from the right wing into the box, and Cunha slammed a one-timer inside the right post. The assist was Spethmann’s fifth of the year.
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